Whatchoo gonna do with your hair?
If y’all in the grip of things like we are here, then hot and humid is just an understatement and so, this past weekend, I sweated my hair out in the worst way working out in the yard doing some major landscaping.
So by Sunday afternoon, after finishing up my landscaping project, I took my hair down out of my faux puff so I could brush my scalp really good before I washed my hair. Then using the same parts from my previous hair style, I put my hair up in some big fat plaits.
Now if y’all been following my journey for awhile, you know I don’t have a problem going out in public with dookie twists or big fat, Celie/Color Purple plaits one bit. And even when it is looking a little crazy, (like when I just need to contain my hair quickly so I can run an errand) I’m not even self conscious about it cause it’s not on my mind. At least not until I notice someone looking at me like I’m crazy. Then I’m like, “Ah…my hair, too funny…”
Thing is, I just ain’t shamed of my hair…at all. So in consistent fashion, I’m outside wearing my hair in large plaits while talking with my sis who has just pulled up and is waiting while my niece is inside helping my mom get herself together so they can go to her basketball game.
Now I’m standing curb side when my mom and niece come out of the house and these two people, a man and a woman, come walking past. The man, who looks like he just stepped out of a church wearing his Sunday-go-to-meeting best black suite is accompanied by…hmmm…well… how do I put this? A hoochie mama looking woman. She’s got on a v-cut, light weight, T-shirt kinda dress and no bra on. It reminded me of that little child’s ditty that kids pick up on the street somewhere when they’re younger, which they get a really big kick out of…at least I remember my niece did when she was about seven or eight years old…
Do your boobs hang low? Do they wobble to and fro? Can you tie them in a knot…can you tie them in a bow? Can you throw them over your shoulder, like a continental soldier? Do your boobs hang low?
Silly, I know. And now that I think about it, I think I taught it to her myself. Hey, that’s what aunties are for…right? But anyway, they both smile as they walk past saying how much they like my landscaping As they get past me, the lady says something I can’t understand, so I say “huh?”
She repeats herself but I still can’t quite make out what she’s saying as she continues walking up the street, so I yell “what?”
Then she yells back down the street quite clearly and unabashedly, “Whatcho gonna do with your hair?”
That’s when I just kinda screw up my face and take a second look at her…including her hair. She seems to be natural and appears to be wearing an afro puff. Hmmm…well that’s interesting.
I’m a little dumb founded and quite frankly, I’m caught off guard cause I really thought she was still talking about my landscaping. To prevent folks from cutting down the hostas, I took out a bunch of grass, put in a border and put down mulch. Let me tell you that involved a whole lot of work. And for my first attempt at doing something like that, I think it turned out pretty good. So for folks to be walking down the street and complimenting my effort has been great and much appreciated. Anyhoo, trying to wrap my brain quickly around what she’s just asked, I shake my head a little and just say, “Ummm…probably put it in an afro puff like yours.”
Dang, where are those snappy retorts when I need them?
At this point, she’s pretty far up the street and seems to smile before turning around to continue on her way.
By now my mom has made it curb side and can’t believe that some stranger has had the gall to ask me a question like that.
“I think that was down right rude,” I say.
“Well I do too,” she says.
My niece makes a remark that the guy looked like he had just come from church, and we’re all in agreement that Miss Thang sho nuff looked like being in church was no where near being on her agenda…at least not wearing that get up. Ok… now I know that’s rather judgemental cause you never know…but still…they were a very miss-matched looking pair to say the least.
“You would have said something about her hair,” my sis says.
“No I wouldn’t, “I say emphatically. “If I thought someone’s hair was jacked up, I would NOT tell them that.”
“See, that’s what I’m saying…” says my niece. “That’s just wrong.”
While the conversation continues, I wonder aloud, “Does my hair really look that…”
“Yeah yo hair is really jacked up,” interjects my sister as she finishes my sentence.
I’m like, “Dang, alrighty then.”
With my mom securely in the car they leave, I go back into the house and head straight for a mirror. Ok, granted, it’s not “styled” but then again I wasn’t going for style. I take some pics, knowing that I’d most likely blog about this, and then get to work on my hair. Later, when my mom came back home, seeing my hair back in a faux puff, she jokingly asked if I showed that lady what I had done to my hair.
We both laughed. And as much as I can easily laugh the incident off, it does seriously reinforce something I’ll continue to wonder about every time I encounter it personally or read about someone’s experience on a hair board.
What is it about nappy hair that gives people, strangers, family, friends, coworkers or acquaintances the right to question someone’s hair in a negative way to their face? In retrospect, “whatchoo gonna do with your hair?” is really NOT the question of the day, is it? The real question of the day is, “Why you baggin’ on my nappy hair?”
Yeah? Well talk to the hand!